Boiler help

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Hi guys! Looking for some help/advice. I am looking to upgrade my heating and have found a great price on a Used 2010 Garn 1500 (1500 gallons storage, 175,000 btu’s per hour). My biggest concern at this point is that it may be over kill for application. House is of typical construction for being built in 2008. 2x6 framing and fiberglass insulation. Quality Anderson windows and door. No basement insulation. Currently heat with oil furnace and radiators, a few feet of baseboard heat in the house but not much and would update if needed to utilize lower water temps. I have 1640 square feet living space with full basement underneath. And potential to add 800 more square feet of living space upstairs of my house. I also have a two car garage that I would heat if this unit was installed.
Is the Garn 1500 so oversized for my house that it won’t be efficient, hurt the unit or just plain old not work? Any idea how much wood I might burn with it? Any help or advice would help. I can’t get anyone to answer the phone at Garn for 4 days and I have no local representatives anymore. The former Garn guy in my area also won’t answer phone calls. Thanks in advance.
 
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stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,640
West Michigan
Weird that Garn isn't returning your calls? That would concern me more than your question about oversizing. I wonder if they aren't doing very well or big changes are coming for them? I'd want to make sure I could get parts before making an investment in a used boiler.

For the right price I'd buy that thing in a second for your setup, longevity of the company aside. The beauty of the Garn is you can burn as much or as little wood as you need each day to keep the water temps at useable levels.

Where do you plan to put it? One big down side to Garn is their size. You need a fair amount of floor space dedicated to that hog. And a big door to get it through.

My two cents - don't plan to heat your garage with it. You'll push a lot of wood through your boiler to keep a typical garage warm...
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,680
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I don't think you can oversize a Garn. I mean, the "size" of the thing is really just about the storage capacity. It might take you longer to use up the heat in storage than a guy with more load but that just means less need to refire it. The firebox size is matched to the storage volume so you will only fire when you need to recharge that matched storage size.

Bigger the better so long as it's insulated and inside the heated space.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,258
Nova Scotia
No, it's not oversized, as long as you have the space for it.

That's the thing with storage. You burn until it is hot (wide open & efficient), then you don't burn again until it is cold. In between, your house draws heat as it needs.
 

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Thanks for the reassurance guys! This afternoon Keith from GARN did return my call. Great guy, spent 45 minutes on the phone. He assured just like you guys that it is NOT to big. I plan on moving forward. Trying to get a hold of the former GARN dealer in the area ( Chris Holley) to hire for the installation design.
Thanks again!
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,258
Nova Scotia
Just be aware that the Garn is open & unpressurized. Whereas your existing system most likely isn't.

So you will need to pay attention to water testing & treatment in the Garn, and also have a good heat exchanging setup.
 

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Just be aware that the Garn is open & unpressurized. Whereas your existing system most likely isn't.

So you will need to pay attention to water testing & treatment in the Garn, and also have a good heat exchanging setup.
yes I am aware. Thanks for the heads up!
 

hedge wood

Member
Mar 1, 2009
92
Eastern NE
Make sure before you buy that used Garn you get inside and inspect it very well. I just spent $2,000 on getting some welds repaired on mine this last summer. Mine was built in 2009 and is a 2000 model. By the time I got back up and running I had spent $3,000 total.
 

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Make sure before you buy that used Garn you get inside and inspect it very well. I just spent $2,000 on getting some welds repaired on mine this last summer. Mine was built in 2009 and is a 2000 model. By the time I got back up and running I had spent $3,000 total.
yes I do plan on inspection of inside tank. Keith from Garn made that clear to check for sludge and blisters in the tank, particularly on the bottom.

I have got in touch with Chris Holley a former Garn installer/dealer here in Maine. He is on board with helping with the installation. I have a verbal agreement with the garn owner and I should have it in my possession in the next couple weeks! I can’t wait!
 
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Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
The garn is a great boiler and under Chris’s direction you will be happy
I agree!!

I got another one for you guys. My current heating system is Pressurized, as you know the GARN is not pressurized. Chris’s initial recommendation was to run the entire system unpressurized, saying the existing oil boiler with work fine with the few pounds of pressure that will be created by the elevation difference of boiler in basement and garn in garage. Then when I tell him I have modern panel radiators he tells me if 1 installation (of many he has done upressurized) where they had panel radiators and the thing metal began leaking in the units after 7 years from air and poor water chemistry. Any one have any thoughts or opinions on this? I can do a heat exchanger and eliminate the risk, but if this situation is truly a 1 in a million then I would prefer the benefits of a open system. The garn requires biannual water testing so Chris thoughts is that would eliminate any corrosion issues in the entire system.
 

TCaldwell

Minister of Fire
I’ve only heard of one instance of that through Chris as well. I’ve been running unpressurized for 2 years now, no issues what so ever. I did make sure that all possible air vents were closed and water is tested twice a year.
The benefit of no approach loss is huge.
I service a 15 year old garn in Rhode Island that was installed non pressurized, the tank and water are the cleanest I’ve seen if that helps.
 

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
I’ve only heard of one instance of that through Chris as well. I’ve been running unpressurized for 2 years now, no issues what so ever. I did make sure that all possible air vents were closed and water is tested twice a year.
The benefit of no approach loss is huge.
I service a 15 year old garn in Rhode Island that was installed non pressurized, the tank and water are the cleanest I’ve seen if that helps.
This does help! It’s what I want to hear!
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,640
West Michigan
I agree!!

I got another one for you guys. My current heating system is Pressurized, as you know the GARN is not pressurized. Chris’s initial recommendation was to run the entire system unpressurized, saying the existing oil boiler with work fine with the few pounds of pressure that will be created by the elevation difference of boiler in basement and garn in garage. Then when I tell him I have modern panel radiators he tells me if 1 installation (of many he has done upressurized) where they had panel radiators and the thing metal began leaking in the units after 7 years from air and poor water chemistry. Any one have any thoughts or opinions on this? I can do a heat exchanger and eliminate the risk, but if this situation is truly a 1 in a million then I would prefer the benefits of a open system. The garn requires biannual water testing so Chris thoughts is that would eliminate any corrosion issues in the entire system.
Are you considering installing the Garn in your attached garage? If so you may want to call your insurance guy or local building dept first. Occasionally you'll get some push back from one or the other regarding wood burners being colocated with cars and fuel storage cans. Some on this forum (IIRC?) have been forced to wall-off their burners to satisfy building requirements. If you're planning to permit this installation you'll want to do that sooner rather than later!

You also mentioned it's a two stall garage? This beast would render your garage no longer a two stall :)
 
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Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Are you considering installing the Garn in your attached garage? If so you may want to call your insurance guy or local building dept first. Occasionally you'll get some push back from one or the other regarding wood burners being colocated with cars and fuel storage cans. Some on this forum (IIRC?) have been forced to wall-off their burners to satisfy building requirements. If you're planning to permit this installation you'll want to do that sooner rather than later!

You also mentioned it's a two stall garage? This beast would render your garage no longer a two stall :)
 

Kmartel

New Member
Jan 7, 2020
9
Maine
Yea.... despite Maine law staying its legal, no insurance company is gonna insure it. So I guess I am building that boiler room immediately..... now onto size. I would like to fit 4-5 cord of wood in the room with the garn. Probably 18x14 or something....
 

hedge wood

Member
Mar 1, 2009
92
Eastern NE
Insurance company's makes the call a lot of time on if we are going to do something or not. Now that your going to have to put up a building also you better set down and run the numbers on the project and see were the break even point is going to be. Is there enough life in this 10 year old Garn to save you money on your heating bill.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,640
West Michigan
Yea.... despite Maine law staying its legal, no insurance company is gonna insure it. So I guess I am building that boiler room immediately..... now onto size. I would like to fit 4-5 cord of wood in the room with the garn. Probably 18x14 or something....
I don't interpret the statement above as meaning a Garn could be legally installed in a garage in Maine. The Garn does not get it's combustion air from outside, which is a requirement in Maine to be installed in a garage. It would pull combustion air from the garage which is where things get tricky for fire (fuel storage in garages and the like).
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,046
Northern Maine
I don't interpret the statement above as meaning a Garn could be legally installed in a garage in Maine. The Garn does not get it's combustion air from outside, which is a requirement in Maine to be installed in a garage. It would pull combustion air from the garage which is where things get tricky for fire (fuel storage in garages and the like).
It looks like entry into the space can only be done from the outside so no doorway from garage into boiler room. installing a fresh air damper would cover this IMO.
Again. I would have it all in writing from the insurance company.

Of and as mentioned. Better run some numbers first.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,046
Northern Maine
Nice barn but the drip line dumps onto the wood pile?
What gives?
 
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